The Copyright Act does not specify any citation requirements beyond the source of the material used and, if available, the name of the creator (ie:Creator, Source). While there is no legal requirement to attribute works in the public domain to their creator(s), doing so is an important part of maintaining academic integrity. Generally, image citations should meet the same requirements as a text citation; that is, a reader should be able to find the source of the image, and the image itself, based on the information in the citation.
If permission to use the image is obtained from the copyright holder, the copyright holder may require a particular citation style or that certain information be included. Examples of where permission requirements go beyond the basic copyright requirements are licensed library databases, creative commons licenses, and individual use agreements.
The tabs to the left contain image citation examples based on the minimum requirements of the Copyright Act and some common citation styles. Please refer to the citation practices of your discipline for more specific details. Include the citation as close to the image as possible, within the limitations of the medium.
Creative Commons licenses are a suite of different licenses that facilitate the sharing and reuse of information and creative works. There are many different Creative Commons licenses and each allows the work to be shared and reused in different ways. Not all images available under Creative Commons licenses are available for all uses. For more information on Creative Commons licenses please visit the Creative Commons Wiki FAQ page or University of Leicester Library's Presentation: Getting unCommonlyCreative: Reusing and creating open materials
All Creative Commons (CC) licences require the image user to attribute the creator of the image, but how that attribution can be provided is flexible depending on the type of licence and the medium in which the image is being used. Depending on where the image will be used different citation formats are necessary to convey all the required information. In an online environment hyperlinks can be used to minimize the length of the image citation; in a print resource the citation will be longer because all the required information must be written out in full.
All CC attributions should have the same basic information:
For a detailed guide to attributing creative commons material see: Attributing Creative Commons Materials created by CCI and Creative Commons Australia. For information on indicating third party content in CC materials, see Smartcopying's guide: How to Label Third Party Content in Creative Commons Licensed Material.
|Short, hyperlinked attribution statement.
Castle Stalker (c)Andrea Mucelli, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
|Full, hyperlinked attribution statement.
Castle Stalker (c)Andrea Mucelli, used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
|Short, text only attribution statement.
Castle Stalker (c)Andrea Mucelli (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluestardrop/3859908007/ ). CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
|Full, text only attribution statement.
Castle Stalker by Andrea Mucelli, retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluestardrop/3859908007/ Used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/)
Databases with Creative Commons Licenses
Many of the free databases, like Flickr and Wikimedia Commons, use Creative Commons (CC) licenses to make the images available for reuse. In some cases, all images uploaded to the database are available under the same CC license; in other cases, it is up to the creator/ uploader to specify which type of CC license will be applied to each image. It is the creator, not the database owner, who retains copyright to the image. If you are using an image with a CC license from an online database, follow the attribution requirements specified by the CC license and the image creator. (See the Creative Commons Images section of this guide for more information on citing CC images.)
Databases with individual licenses or permission statements
Example of a database with a specific license and attribution requirements:
On the details page for each image it is specified if the image is available under the IWM Non-Commercial Licence and specifies the image citation:
Note: Many websites and blogs use others' materials without permission. When considering using an image from a website, double check the website owner is the copyright holder, or has permission to use and share that image. It is not always easy to identify who is the true copyright holder of an image so use your judgment. Is it reasonable to assume the website owner is the image copyright owner?
A citation for an image from a published source requires, at minimum, the creator of the image and the source of the image. It is good practice to also include the image title. The general format would be:
How the source of the image is cited depends on the citation practices of the discipline. For example citing an image from a journal source, formatted in APA style would look like this:
Formatted in MLA style it would look like this:
Examples (APA Style):
|Example||Creator||Title (from original source)||Source||Format|
|G. Forte et al||Figure 1||Forte, G. et al. (2009) Ab Initio Prediction of Boron Compounds Arising from Borozene: Structural and Electronic Properties. Nanoscale Research Letters, 5:158-163 Retrieved March 27, 2012 from SpringerOpen. doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9458-8||Journal Article|
|Randolph Caldecott||This is the house the Jack built||Caldecott, R. (1878) The House That Jack Built. Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd.||Book|
If including the full reference directly under the image is not appropriate for the project it is possible to include a short attribution under the image with a full citation or attribution statement in a reference page at the end of the work or in a footnote, much like an in-text citation.
|Example||Short Citation||Full reference|
|(c)G. Forte et al, 2009||Image: Clusters B6OH12 and B228H24
G. Forte et al, Figure 1. From Forte, G. et al. (2009) Ab Initio Prediction of Boron Compounds Arising from Borozene: Structural and Electronic Properties. Nanoscale Research Letters, 5:158-163 Retrieved March 27, 2012 from SpringerOpen. doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9458-8
Used with permission from SpringerOpen.
At a minimum, the image citation should include: Creator, Image title: Source. Many publication style manuals, including APA and MLA, have more specific and detailed requirements for citing images from digital databases. Some style guides make a distinction between images that are copies of physical art and images that exist only in a digital format. Refer to the citation practices specific to your discipline if you are following a particular citation style. Below are a few examples of APA and MLA style (adapted from SFU: Finding and Using Online Images).